Starting out in finance While she has been in finance now for over 20 years, Gemma initially ‘fell into’ it after applying for a graduate role at Ernst & Young following her aeronautical engineering degree. At the time, the internet was starting to take hold within finance, and software was beginning to be used for all kinds of systems and processes. “A lot of my interest in improving technology and the transformation pieces was because I’m fundamentally lazy and bored.” “I don’t want to do something manual over and over again. So, I’ve always tended to think – there’s got to be a better way of doing that.” From Ernst & Young, Gemma moved to various technology companies including Vodafone, Intel and Norwegian-owned energy business DNV. Now she’s doing a six-month role with fashion retailer Superdry to help them adapt and transform. Transforming Superdry “Superdry was one of those companies that grew very, very fast from a warehouse in Cheltenham, where we are still more or less just several warehouses. But the systems and processes didn’t grow with it,” she says. “I came in with a remit to just go and have a look around and see what felt right, what felt wrong, where to prioritise the changes, looking at the people, processes, the systems and upgrading the main system. Then, developing the team to be ready to do it. There’s no resistance to change, but there’s no experience of it either. There’s a lot of energy to go forward though.” However, it’s not all easy change, as sometimes taking one step forward is followed by two steps back. “Bureaucracy is the one that really drives me crazy,” she says. But Gemma has purposely chosen roles that present a challenge for her, ones that she doesn’t already know how to do, but that excite her. “When you’re interviewing somebody, if you start talking about something that’s broken – either they sit back and look like a rabbit in the headlights, or they lean forward and come up with ideas,” she says. “And that’s the key thing with a lot of these transformation roles – you’ve got to get excited about fixing it.” Though her career isn’t what she initially thought she’d be doing, Gemma says she wouldn’t change it. “I’ve been really lucky to work for a couple of managers that have been inspirational and fabulous employees that were just going to keep on going forward,” says Gemma. “I’ve always enjoyed the challenge. It’s something that has changed a lot as a profession over 20 years, from being a relatively mechanical sort of grey to a real part of a lot of businesses. So I’m very happy with it.” Gemma’s Power Profile What music empowers her? “St Elmo’s Fire. I first used to listen to it at Uni when I needed to get myself going, its upbeat (a bit of an 80’s power song!) and it’s about pushing forward to make positive life changes; ‘Play the game, you know you can’t quit until its won/Soldier on, only you can do what must be done’. That is still relevant to me now, 20something years later.” Who is her hero? “My business hero is Chris Allen, someone hardly anyone would know who I worked for in around 2000, he is my hero because he never gave up finding a way to make things better, and he rolled up his sleeves and helped. Chris was always asking you to make step changes, if you said ‘No’ (it couldn’t be done), he would always say ‘I hear you, but how do we do it anyway.” “My hero in life is Tim Berners-Lee. A brilliant mind who saw the huge potential of combining technologies and ideas to create the WWW, transforming knowledge and communication. He is my hero because he made it free and non-proprietary and continues to work to make it accessible to all in such a quiet dignified way.” Are you a finance and accounting industry hero? We are looking for new, inspiring voices from our community, so if you would like to be interviewed for The Shift, contact us below with your information. Contact Us
The post Gemma Spurr, Transformation Manager at Superdry appeared first on Generation CFO.
By: Christopher Argent
Title: Gemma Spurr, Transformation Manager at Superdry
Sourced From: generationcfo.com/gemma-spurr-transformation-manager-at-superdry/
Published Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2022 09:23:57 +0000
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